On Editing – Part II

March 16, 2010

Continuing from where I left off the last time, I’ll continue with the the lower order principles, Eye-trace, Two-dimensional plane of screen, and Three-dimensional space of screen.

Eye-trace – This is the concern of the audience’s point of interest within a shot. Good eye-trace has each shot maintaining the point of interest close the shot preceding it. It helps the audience focus without having them scanning across the entire screen for the point of interest. Eg: If the focal point of the shot is the upper right corner of the screen, have the next shot’s starting focal point near the same area. It’s essential in chase sequences, to let the audience make sense of the sequence of actions in the midst of rapid cuts.

Two-dimensional plane of screen – Also known as planarity, a shot with good planarity utilizes good stage lines. It respects the esthetic of two dimensional lines. It’s a little more involved in composition then editing. The rule of thirds comes into play here.

Three-dimensional space of screen – Also known as spatial continuity, the concept is the same as planarity except in three dimensions instead of two. If the placement between various elements on screen can be viewed as a harmonious whole, it has good spatial continuity.

These three principles are lower order for a reason, if a shot has good eye-trace, planarity and spatial continuity, but is not true to the emotion to the shot, isn’t advancing the story and is occurring at the wrong time, it will feel false to the audience. That’s it for editing for now, if anyone missed the previous post, this is covered in greater detail from the book In the Blink of an Eye.

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